The law is the law

Mandated rules often dictate the terms of our members’ benefits

By Donna Castiglione, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

June 2, 2017 – Being smarter consumers is a hot topic lately and has people looking for ways to get the most out of their dollar.

Some sources advise you to ask for discounts or a supervisor to get a better deal.  While we are all for our members getting the best deal you can, you really can’t apply it to what we do at the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.

OPERS is governed by the Ohio Revised Code Chapter 145 and Ohio Administrative Rules, which outline what we can do. For example, if someone left public employment and wanted to refund their account right away we simply could not do it. The current law states that they need to wait two months. This time period is simply not negotiable no matter how much someone wants us to do it. (One of the reasons for this law is to ensure that we have all of the member’s contributions from their employer prior to issuing a refund so we are sure to issue the correct amount.)

We will always do our best to help you understand the law and are empathetic to your personal situations; however, the law is the law and in the end that is what we have to follow.

Something we do encourage for our members is to be better health care consumers, which can save you and OPERS money and help us to be able to continue to provide health care to our retirees. We are also looking for ways to help you make better financial decisions earlier in your careers that will positively impact you in retirement.

Donna Castiglione

Donna Castiglione is the assistant director of Member Services and has been with the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System for more than 13 years. She has extensive experience in customer service management in a variety of industries.

Donna Castiglione

Assistant Director of Member Services

  • The law may be the law but a promise is a promise. Many of the laws changed promises. Disability for example. You receive medical for the first five years only with the new laws. Controlling medical costs after that is really easy. The same with retirement age. Credibility and reliability go out the window.

    • Hello,
      This morning (08-14-2017), I watched the OPERS news video news regarding COLA. Another OPERS promise broken (for a second time). I believe OPERS is placing themselves in a “Catch-22” scenario. You keep cutting and chipping away at the pension/ COLA/ healthcare, and will any new State employee be the slightest interested in joining OPERS? In the long run, you are cutting your assets even more and increasing your liabilities. Someone or some group at OPERS needs to begin doing better marketing to sell the system, but you continue to degrade the system. It’s surely not the same retirement system I joined when I was a new State employee. Do you want employees to sign-up for OPERS, or are you deliberately trying to persuade them to go elsewhere? Yes, I fear you are in a “Catch-22” — trying to save the system, but actually doing the opposite. Stay pat and do some marketing!!

  • Thanks for the info…keep it up so we can be better informed…the law is the law and we aught not try to circumvent it by cutting corners unnecessarily.

  • What happens to the PERS retirees after 2018 and there is no more reimbursement from Opers. Are plans being made for 2019 and beyond. If most of us have to pay for our medical plans and medications out of pocket without help there will be many folks without adequate care. I presume and hope that traditional medicare and medicaid will still be an option for some folks.

    • Loretta,

      Thank you for your question. I think there might be some confusion about the status of reimbursements for retirees after 2018 versus spouses. I would encourage you to call us at 800-222-7377 so we can review your specific situation. You can also look for information about allowances in your Open Enrollment material that will be mailed in September.


      • Is it the retirees or the spouses losing reimbursement after 2018 I am confused with the question and your response.

        • Sorry for the confusion, We have been phasing out the spouse allowance for the past several years. The retirees allowance is not being phased out. I would highly recommend that everyone read their Open Enrollment packets that will be mailed in September. These packets contain valuable information about your specific allowances and coverage for the coming year.

          • Dick,

            I would suggest you call us at 800-222-7377 with your questions so we can pull up your account.

            Thank you

    • Sondra,

      Yes, you should look for that information in September in your Open Enrollment packet that you will receive in the mail.

      Thank you

  • Why the provision that one can’t return to work (even on a voluntary basis) for the same employer after retirement for a two month period or that person loses his benefits for those two months? Is this state law or federal law? Thanks.

    • As a retired OPERS member, the beneficiary of a deceased OPERS retired member, or a member receiving a disability benefit, your retirement benefit must be reported on your federal income tax return. OPERS will supply you with the taxable amount of your benefit by sending you a Form 1099-R. We began mailing 1099-R statements to our benefit recipients during January. For more information, visit the Tax Guide page on the OPERS website at

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